Simple Ways To “Ground” Yourself In Your Home

As an “armchair psychologist of the home” I believe that everything begins in the home – so much so that my design philosophy grew from this belief and so I approach each and every decorating job with this key premise.  No matter what we do or where we go in life, I believe how we act, react and interact in the outside world takes root from how we live in our homes.  To put it simply, how we live in our homes should “ground” us, giving us the foundation to make us emotionally and mentally stable to go out into the world.  This means your homespace is vital to your essence.

I have always been a lover of Nature.  Hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, horseback riding, spending time at the beach, boating, white water rafting or gardening – no matter what the venue, my most favorite times have been spent outdoors.  For me being outdoors was a pleasurable experience.  Only after some trauma-drama infiltrated my life several years ago did I understand the healing powers of Nature.  Nature is flat-out the best tonic out there.  Period.  With this revelation I consciously decided to bring nature into my home in every way that I could knowing that if it worked for me outdoors by golly, it would work indoors, too.

This newfound revelation also became an integral component to my design philosophy and ever since, I have incorporated elements of Nature into all my jobs albeit often in really subtle ways that are only picked up on subconscious levels.  This allows for “grounding” to occur.  I also share with my clients’ ways to infuse Nature in their homes themselves (after I leave their nests) and on a larger scale to audiences such as the readers of my blog as in my post, Two Colors Every Homespace Needs.

Think of bringing Nature into your homespace as being part of getting back to the basics of what the earth has given us, literally.  Call it “grass roots” decorating.  Or call it simplifying your décor.  Heck, you can even look at it as a version of what is called “earthing”, a fascinating concept of connecting with the earth in order to become more balanced.  Ironically, just the other day Susan Weems Muehl, LIPH’s Nature Photographer emailed me a bevy of new nature images (thank you dear friend) and also mentioned that she was practicing the concepts of earthing.  No doubt about it, Susan and I are birds of a feather flocking together!  Both of us absolutely positively get the importance of nature and the earth’s connection to our bodies.  (With all due respect, “earthing” is more about physically being grounded; I am merely relating it to your home and how to bring Nature into your space.  To learn more about “earthing,” read the book, Earthing-The most important health discovery ever? Or go to www.earthing.com as well. )  Whatever you choose to call bringing Nature indoors, just do it.  Here are some simple, sure fire ways:

  • Decorate your home with found things in nature
  • Open up the windows and let fresh air into your home
  • Decorate with live plants, wildflowers and aromatic herbs
  • Pay attention to the seasons and honor them in your décor
  • When building, purchasing or moving into a new home, choose a home that offers you plenty of natural light (sunshine is healing)

Like many of us, I have times I’m in a real funk. I was in one recently for more days than I’d care to admit to.  Focusing too much attention on issues I had no control over and magnifying issues tenfold in my mind had gotten the better of me and quite frankly, I didn’t even find myself good company.  It’s a darn good thing my David had been traveling during this funk or he would have been rolling his eyes at me constantly, ignoring me or worst yet, pulling out his gorgeous silver hair over my attitude.  While in my funk my niece, Marli called me to chat and just my tone of voice when I answered her call made her aware that something was amiss.  I ended up telling her about my seemingly endless days of funk and she listened attentively.  Then she disrupted my pity party by saying, “Aunt Jamie, do what you always say to do.  Go to the woods.  Go to Nature.  Let it restore you.”  Whoa, was she preaching to me what I always preach?  Yep, she sure was.  And guess what?  I took her up on it.  I got off the phone and headed to the woods.  I simply needed an extra large dose of Nature’s medicine – more than my usual daily amount!  I walked and I walked, breathing in all the wonderful smells of Nature as I viewed the changing fall scenery.  So long funk. So long pity pot.  Nature restoreth my soul and I returned home more in tune with the earth.  I filled my lungs with the scent of fresh lavender on the counter.  I enjoyed watering all my plants.  I paid attention to the breeze coming through my opened windows and reveled in the sounds of nature I could hear coming into my home.  Later, as I readied for bed, I felt free of much of my recent anxiety and internally thanked Marli for her advice.

I believe that we all must singly as well as collectively connect or reconnect with Nature in order to truly be balanced and healthy. Infusing elements of the natural world in your home helps to accomplish this and is the single best way to ground yourself.  Remember to bring Nature indoors.  It might seem simple but simple’s good right?  And it might be a small step compared to the “barefoot steps” of earthing but by doing this you will give yourself gifts of healing that only Nature can provide.

To Nature…

Let Nature Restoreth Your Soul (And Your Home)

Tree changing colors in autumn

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

My David and I were taking an early morning walk in nature this morning.  The moon was spectacular and the breeze gave a slight chill to the air.  Awwwww, the hint of autumn!

I couldn’t help but be excited.  With my senses alive to this feeling of fall I said to myself, fall is the best season of all.  Then I laughed  because I say this at the beginning of each new season.  The truth is that I love each of the four seasons.  Each one carries with it special meaning, fond memories and a renewed sense of anticipation for things to come.

The first day of fall just happens to be tomorrow.  Let us all welcome the beauty that this season brings us by allowing it to restore our souls.

We can do this in many, many ways.  At the same time, we can bring autumnal feelings into our homes.

Letting nature restore you

I believe that nature has the ability to restore each of us time and again, season after season.  In my post, These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things I quote one of my favorite Psalms from Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season.”

Autumn is the time to restore ourselves with feelings of warmth and comfort.  Autumn’s purpose is to ready us for the coming winter.  It gives us the chance to focus inward and prepare for the coming changes winter is sure to bring.

Beautiful tree in autumn

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

With autumn comes a myriad of opportunities to embrace the season.  For many people autumn is all about football.  Others explore the wondrous beauty of the changing leaves by hiking and biking in nature preserves and greenways.  Regardless of the activity, fall is a perfect time to be outdoors.

I have learned the medicinal properties of nature personally.  I call nature the best tonic on the market.  And, it’s free!

When David and I moved to the Chicago area a little over two years ago I found a lot of free time on my hands.  Plus, I didn’t know a soul so I had days to myself to explore.  Who would have guessed that moving to the city would produce so much nature for me to immerse myself in?  I began to walk, hike, bike and even snowshoe (now my favorite hobby for sure) by myself.  Slowly but surely I began to notice a change in my attitude.  (OK, David did first but so what!)  I began to let things go, calm down and relax.  What an amazing transformation!

I even noticed that my music choices I made on my IPod while walking and hiking changed.  For a while I listened daily to all my faves- from the 1950’s to today.  Before long I realized I was only listening to soothing selections that you would normally hear while getting a massage.  Now, more often than not I don’t take my IPod on my walks at all.  The only music I want to hear comes from what nature provides- birds chirping, frogs croaking and the ducks quacking to each other on the water creates an awesome symphony.  Walking in silence brings the music of nature to an incredible volume!

Brilliant red tree in autumn

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

To say that getting back to nature restored me just doesn’t do justice to the truth of it.  Getting back to nature has done so much more.  I am walking, talking proof of its tonic!

So, I challenge you to find ways to give yourself daily doses of the outdoors.  It could be as simple as eating lunch outside while at work, walking your dog, doing your exercising outside (instead of the treadmill) sitting on the porch or taking off to the woods.  A small dose of nature’s elixir will go a long way!

Nature has mental, physical and spiritual benefits just waiting for you!  Give yourself a chance to reap from it all!

Bring the glory of Autumn inside

I have espoused time and again in recent posts such as Two Colors Every Homespace Needs the importance of bringing nature inside.  As I have said before, we humans have distanced ourselves from nature and have created a false reality.  Our homes and offices are full of gadgets and gizmos that have nothing to do with nature.  What a travesty to ourselves!

Loving color

Photo Credit: Susan Muehl

By bringing nature inside we allow ourselves to stay connected to it.  It is that simple.  And, it is simple to do.  My “fall line-up” of posts will give you lots of ways to achieve this.  Look for Becky Balzer’s post on the best indoor plants for the home environment.  Chef Ryan will treat us to his idea of a great tailgating party.  Hector Benetiz will offer you suggestions on outdoor exercises to coincide with the season.  I will be sharing many different ways to infuse nature in your homespace through decorating.  And, that’s just the beginning.  Stay with us and enjoy the season of autumn!

Think color…

Our Homes Must Express Our True Essence

I know this to be true. Further, I believe that often our homespace does not match our true selves.

This happens for various reasons. Here are a few:

  • We are out of balance with who we really are.
  • We live and define our homespace by someone else’s standards.
  • We are insecure in our true selves and stifle our unique expression in our homespace décor.

How do I know this to be true?

I have experienced it myself. Let me explain…

A few weeks after my husband decided to separate and move out of our family home (shortly before my 40th birthday-ouch), I had landscapers come remove an enormous river birch that was overtaking and overshadowing the front of our house. We had planted it as a small tree several years earlier not realizing how quickly it would grow. Well, it soon came to resemble Jack’s beanstalk. Seriously, it was so tall that it reached for the clouds.

This tree had become an eye sore to me and I had complained about it to my husband for quite some time before our separation. This had always fallen on deaf ears SO, once my husband decided to leave, DOWN came the tree.

Empowerment feels wonderful.

It was like a Mary Tyler Moore moment for me when she looked skyward in the opening clip of her TV show years ago and threw off her hat. Empowerment at its finest for me! And, symbolically just as the tree came down to open up the beauty of my home, I began to open up and slowly become more authentically who I am.
Next came the new built-in bookcases in the living room to transform the space into a reading room…

I guess you can say that up until the river birch came down, I had never expressed my true essence in the décor of my home. Quite frankly, for years I had been guilty of succumbing to all the reasons I listed above in creating my homespace.

Not anymore. I was beginning to blossom.

Much more happened to me besides beginning to express my true self through the décor of my home.

Everything happens for a reason.

I believe there are no coincidences. I believe there are no accidents. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Out of every situation you can find a teachable moment.

My true path opened up for me after my divorce and several other devastating situations. I call these types of experiences “trauma-drama” because that is what they are: trauma because of the horrific feelings and fall-out that accompany these difficult situations, drama because of the fact that there is usually way too much of it in the situation.

Trauma-drama.

What I came to discover is that each of these situations helped to teach me who I really am. In the worst experiences of my life I have learned the most. I have even built a career out of it and now live my passion.

All of us can do this. All of us can take these extremely difficult times and make them positive. Use your homespace as a means to help and support you in doing this.

Let your home be the outward manifestation of your true self.

When your homespace is not in balance with your true self there is always something that feels a little off. It is as if you are trying to be comfortable in a sweater that just doesn’t fit you right. It doesn’t work.

Take this moment to begin to look at your homespace. Ask yourself the question, “Is this really me?”

If not, consider reconstruction of your homespace- what I call “The Four R’s” of reconstruction:

  1. Redefine
  2. Redesign
  3. Renovate
  4. Refine

Look for later articles on “The Four R’s” and by the way, the same techniques can be applied to reconstructing your inner self as I explain in my upcoming book, “And so… The Shadow Woman Emerged”!

One thought…

Your homespace should be as unique as those who dwell within it.

Feel empowered…

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

Love of Nature’s Bounty

As a young girl growing up on a farm with 12 siblings in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, I could not wait to move to the big city. Free of farm chores, free of farm smells and free of wide-open farm spaces.

The city beckoned. Or, Blacksburg VA did anyway. Free from chores and ready for a new experience in college. Little did I know that the love of nature was in my blood. I soon realized that I had taken nature for granted and I actually loved it.

So, I set my sights on a degree in horticulture with a minor in Vocational Education as a back up to get a job in my chosen field. After college I taught horticulture in high school.
Years and three kids later, I still love it. It is my chosen path.

Love of nature

Here are some reasons I love nature:

Nature is calming and peaceful.

Immersing yourself in nature makes you better understand where your food comes from.

Nature reminds you that it is the simple things in life that bring the greatest joy.

Craig and Blake mowing grass

Photo credit: Crystal Balzer aka "The Domestic Diva"

Blake and his first strawberries from the garden

Photo credit: Crystal Balzer aka "The Domestic Diva"

Infusing nature in the home

Once I finished college and married, I began to make sure that the aspects of nature became part of my home.  As a mother I tried to impart this love to my three sons.  I cannot tell you the number of times they balked at being outdoors working in the yard.  Their idea of being outside was to play.  But, all my teachings have paid off. My oldest son, Craig calls just to talk yard talk!  And now I get to watch my grandchildren reap the benefits of nature having learned it through their parents teaching them.

I marvel at my grandson, Blake’s interest in the simple joys nature has to offer like watching a robin outside the window looking for food and then finding a nest in the tree house full of eggs.  Or Ryleigh and Blake picking the first strawberries from the family garden they have helped to nurture and tend.

In future articles you will find ways to bring nature inside for you and your family.  Gardening can be a fun hobby and it can involve the whole family!

Look for articles on other topics as well such as, “How to make a terrarium”, and “How to reduce toxins in the home with indoor plants”.

Happy gardening!

Nest with robin eggs

Photo credit: Crystal Balzer aka "The Domestic Diva"